In the early 1980s, I was in the running to study jobs in three industrial sectors in Saudi Arabia. My uncle had extensive teaching experience in universities throughout the Middle East, and I told him this would be a good project for a PhD, but he told me of the very conservative nature of the country. I made the top three, but was not chosen. I had submitted a paper on Iran and thought that would help. It did not! It might have had made it worse for me!
In any event, as the NY Times and other sources have noted, times are changing, though still slow in this Sunni nation. Some sight the notion that more females have begun working outside the home, and automobile driving is starting to take hold. Yet, the country is still largely run by the royal family, and ministers are appointed by the king.
Yet, women were able to participate in the vote for members on the 284 local councils. It is unclear how many women were elected, but it seems the range is between 17 and 20. The local councils handle municipal issues, such as, repairing roads and health care issues, and though only two-thirds of the council members are elected with the rest appointed by the government; it indeed is an incredible step to the future for this nation.
Bill Weightman, Hardyston